Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6,899/Virgilius – It’s all about U

Posted by Ali on November 25th, 2008

Ali.

Great stuff as ever from the V-man. There’s a theme running through this one, with 9/25A kicking things off and then numerous references to the letter “U” in both clues and answers. I found some of this a little trickier than usual, but got there in the end with a few guesses.

Across
9/25 NANCY MITFORD – NANCY,M.I.T,FORD – Took a while to spot this, probably because I’m not very familar with the name. A quick Wiki has however shed quite a lot of light on the rest of the puzzle! Nancy Mitford was one of the ‘bright young things’ on the London social scene who was instrumental in popularising the idea of “U and “non-U” language
10 ROOT CAUSE – (TO A COURSE)*
11 VIRTUES – U in (STRIVE)* – First appearance of U here, this time referring to the film classification I guess
12 URANIUM – The letter U precedes V and W in t’alphabet and is also the symbol for the metal
13 REARS UP – (RAP USER)*
14 USE – “YOU”, “YEW” and EWE”!
15 YOU – Hidden in joYOUsly
17 INTRAVENOUS DRIP – IN + RAVENOUS DR in TIP – Lovely clue
20 YEW – Last letters of verY finE boW
22 EWE – Directions E,W,E. I’m guessing this refers to going in one direction and then back in the other if you make a U-turn?
23 SCULLER – SCULLER[-y] – ‘Single person having a row’ is a great definition
27 ROUNDEL – U in RONDEL
29 NOUNS – N in NOUS
Down
1 UNIVERSITY – I,VERS[-E} in UNITY – Great clue, not only as it links to the letter U again, but also references Unity Mitford!
2 UNDREAMT – (MADE TURN)*
3 SYRUPS – YR in SUPS
4 CROSSPIECE – Cha of CROSS + PIECE
5 NON-U – UN[-i]ON rev.
6 SCRAPERS – (PRESS CAR)*
8 GEUM – U(niversity) in GEM – Guessed this from the wordplay
14 UNOBSERVED – U (for Upper Class),NOB,SERVED
16 UPPER CLASS – UPPER,CLASS
18 ALEHOUSE – HE rev. in A LOUSE
21 WATTLE – I’ve come across wattle and daub before, but didn’t know that wattle was also the name given to the amusing, flappy bit that turkeys have under their beaks
24 U-TURNS – U(ranium),TURNS
26 DUOS – U (again!) in DOS

18 Responses to “Independent 6,899/Virgilius – It’s all about U”

  1. NealH says:

    The only one I didn’t quite follow was 7 down, Mutiny – “Under Menelaus, initially, very small rebellion”. Obviously “Menelaus, initially” = M and “very small” = tiny, but where does the U come from ? I don’t think it comes from the “Under” because that would give UM rather than MU. Although with so many Us floating around, perhaps we just have to assume there’s another one there.

  2. Geoff Moss says:

    Neal
    Menelaus was a king in Greek mythology and ‘mu’ is the Greek letter ‘M’.

  3. neildubya says:

    I was wondering about that one too. That aside, I thought this was a corker.

  4. neildubya says:

    Now that Geoff’s explained it, you can scrap “that aside” from my previous comment.

  5. Colin Blackburn says:

    An excellent from me too.

    27ac ROUND+EL seems to work as a charade (as well as the given insertion clue) since ROUNDEL = RONDEL

  6. mhl says:

    Excellent stuff today, and it’s nice having the possibilities of U (and non-U) being explored a bit further than just a single letter indicator – getting NANCY MITFORD early on helped me in guessing that theme, even though there was no explicit link between that clue and the “U”s.

    Could someone possibly explain why 19d (RULED OUT, I assume) is “Like poor service, perhaps”?

  7. NealH says:

    I decided it was to do with tennis (i.e. a serve ruled out).

  8. neildubya says:

    19d – in tennis, a serve can be RULED OUT by the umpire.

  9. neildubya says:

    Snap!

  10. mhl says:

    Oh, of course :) Thanks…

  11. nmsindy says:

    Great puzzle – I, too, read it as ROUND EL

  12. Colin Blackburn says:

    As is often the case with themes like this one, I’m left wondering about the small number of apparently non-thematic entries. Was Virgilius kicking himself at not being able to find 3 more U-words to replace WATTLE, SCRAPER and CROSSPIECE? Or, is there some hidden relevance to these words? I guess U isn’t the easiest vowel to work with.

  13. Mick h says:

    Super puzzle, but surprised about solutions without U – thought U’s ubiquity would result.

  14. Paul B says:

    Could I just say in a very small voice way that, though Menelaus was (or is, to all mythological intents and purposes) Greek, ‘Menelaus (as spelt here, i.e. in English, i.e. in the Latin derivation) initially’ should probably not equal MU.

    (I am not jealous of this brilliant puzzle or anything.)

  15. Paul B says:

    (Delete ‘way’ or ‘voice’ above, according to preference.)

  16. Testy says:

    Paul, I’m not sure I understand. Even in the Greek form wouldn’t Menelaus’s name have begun with M (i.e. the Greek mu). I know it’s not always authoritative but Wikipedia seems to suggest that the Greek spelling would be ???????? (hope these characters come out OK when I submit???) so his initial would have been the Greek letter MU.

  17. Testy says:

    I guess not!

  18. Paul B says:

    Bad luck Testy. I’d like to have seen it too!

    To return to business, I mean, had the spelling been representative of Greek (with the Greek character set possibly a *bit* beyond some solvers) I’d have bought it. As it wasn’t (the etymology of ‘Menelaus’ is Latin, with ‘Menelaos’ the Greek equivalent, AFAIA), I wondered whether we really could have (in SI) MU as a truly sound representation of the ‘initial’ letter (arbitrary surfaces and all that).

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


four × 7 =